Nottingham University Hospital embeds video in cystic fibrosis centre

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust used Cisco video technology to enhance care quality at a dedicated facility for cystic fibrosis patients

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has deployed advanced video-conferencing and communications technology at a new facility for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis.

The condition, which can be caused by any one of more than 1,500 potential genetic mutations, is an incurable, chronic condition that affects the digestive and respiratory tracts.

It affects production of a protein critical to regulating production of sweat, mucus and digestive fluids and is one of the most common recessive autosomal conditions among people of European descent, with one in 25 thought to carry a cystic fibrosis gene.

Life expectancy of patients, although low at between 37 and 40 years, has improved substantially in the past 50 years.

Nevertheless, cystic fibrosis patients generally require regular visits to hospital and Nottingham Univeristy Hospitals NHS Trust wanted to improve the experience of patients during their frequent hospital stays by helping staff provide better quality of care.

It has now deployed a new Cisco video network, which uses touchscreen intuitive control and HD cameras. The system makes use of Speaker Track technology, which changes camera angles and viewing perspectives based on who is talking. 

It also uses Jabber Guest, which enables high-quality video calls from non-Cisco telephony users, supported by a Cisco local-area network (LAN), wireless capability and network security. Additionally, the centre’s gym pods have been equipped with Cisco DX80 collaboration endpoints.

Transforming care for cystic fibrosis patients

Cystic fibrosis consultant Dr Jane Dewar said the facility was remarkable and is transforming the way cystic fibrosis patients are being cared for in Nottingham.

For the trust, which opened the £6.6m facility in April 2014, the technology will help patients by enabling remote participation in group classes from home, as well as high-quality calls home to family and friends while in hospital. Group participation, in particular, was not something it could previously offer – owing to the nature of the condition and the need for separation between patients.

What we are seeing here is the value of connectivity beyond not just the technological, but between people

Terry Espiner, Cisco

The trust said being able to run virtual sessions would help patients collaborate to learn to manage their condition, which requires sufferers to undergo very specific physiotherapy and exercise routines and, in some cases, causes hyper-metabolism that can mean they have to consumer more than 5,000 calories a day.

“People with cystic fibrosis spend weeks at a time in hospital, meaning their units become a second home,” explained George Jenkins, chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

“The personalised service offered by this unit, such as dedicated chefs and gym pods in comfortable surroundings, will support people’s wellbeing and make visits all the more relaxed, and provide the care people need and deserve.”

Cisco UK and Ireland client director of healthcare Terry Espiner said the facility was a fantastic example of technology enriching people's lives.

"What we are seeing here is the value of connectivity beyond not just the technological, but between people. In this instance, connectivity and the ambition of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust are transforming the lives of people with cystic fibrosis,” he said. 

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